Were You Fired for Raising a Safety Issue? Get Legal Guidance from our Los Angeles attorneys.
Employees that are punished by their employers for attempting to ensure safe and healthful working conditions may sue for wrongful termination in violation of the public policies advanced by the health and safety laws. The federal law that requires health and safety in the workplace is the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 ("OSHA"). It created the the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a government agency responsible for enforcing safe workplace standards across the United States. In California, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health protects workers and the public from safety hazards by enforcing California's occupational and public safety laws and provides information and consultative assistance to employers, workers and the public about workplace and public safety matters. Also known as “CalOSHA,” the Division oversees private employers operating in the state.
When you discover a CalOSHA violation in your workplace, you have a legal right to call attention to the problem without fear of retaliation. If you were fired or treated differently after reporting a health or safety problem, our team at The Spivak Law Firm can help. Our lawyers have over 25 years of experience and we understand federal and California workplace safety laws. We’re ready and eager to litigate these claims, and we do not get paid until you do. Our legal professionals will work closely with you throughout our handling of your case, and we will do everything we can to hold your employer accountable for unlawful conduct.
Practically all private employers operating in California must comply with CalOSHA rules and other requirements set by the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973. This means, among other things, that employers are legally obligated to provide their workers with a “safe and healthful” workplace. The law extends numerous rights and protections to employees who are concerned about the safety of their workplaces.
As an employee working in California, you have a right to request and receive training about your rights and known workplace hazards. Employers must honor requests for information on past workplace safety issues, including data on injuries, illnesses, and hazardous exposures. You also have the right to observe a CalOSHA inspection and obtain the results of an inspection.
If you discover a hazard in your workplace or some other CalOSHA violation, you can choose to ask your employer to investigate and fix the problem. You also have the right to file a formal, confidential complaint with CalOSHA directly: You do not necessarily have to talk to your employer first.
Many California employees are worried about the consequences of speaking out about safety issues. Reporting a safety problem to your employer or CalOSHA is considered a “protected activity.” The law forbids employers from retaliating against workers who exercise these and other rights.
Your employer cannot lawfully retaliate against you for:
- Calling attention to a health or safety danger
- Filing a complaint with CalOSHA
- Participating in a CalOSHA inspection or investigation
- Refusing to perform an unsafe task
- Requesting workplace safety information or training
Unfortunately, unlawful retaliation can and does happen in these situations. In some cases, the retaliation will be obvious: Some employers will wrongfully terminate employees who sound the alarm about CalOSHA violations. In other scenarios, employers may rely on subtler types of retaliation. You may be a victim of retaliation if you were demoted, disciplined, given less-desirable shifts or job duties, inconveniently relocated, or suffer other types of adverse action.
Our Los Angeles attorneys can help you fight this injustice. After evaluating your situation, we will advise whether you have a case and walk you through your legal options.
You can file a whistleblower complaint with CalOSHA. If a satisfactory administrative remedy cannot be negotiated, we can file a private lawsuit against your employer.
Our team will work to recover remedies such as:
- Lost wages (including lost benefits)
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Legal fees
- Reinstatement (if you were wrongfully terminated)
- Punitive damages